Wednesday, 19 May 2010
David had been caught by cerebral palsy since birth, and we always saw him being wheeled around our village by his mum, and very often his grandfather - occasionally accompanied by his grandmother as well. The poor lad was a sorry sight; he couldn't speak, had beautiful brown eyes which maybe shone with comprehension, but who knows; and he was totally dependent on his doting family.
Years went on, and as David grew older, the local children all knew him, and talked to him, never expecting a response, but that's the way they were asked to be - and they did it...
Grandma died, then so did grandfather Bill, who was one of the gentlest men I've ever met. We'd usually see him sitting on the bench by the church, holding David close to his body on his lap, and he was a charming man, full of praise for life, and an expert gardener as well. He had a huge heart.
David died a couple of years ago, and we all felt some sort of loss. His dad had also gone several years before, and it had been left to his mum to do all the work to keep him going, and he was nearing forty!
During David's earlier years, someone had given him a duck as a pet. You'd have thought this was a stupid thing to do, but somehow, David showed some eveidence of feeling for this bird, and it was his own friend. It is a local legend how he doted on this duck, and many people believe that it was the one chance he ever had to communicate with the outer world.
The poor bird died tragically, and David was heartbroken. He was about twenty something then, and still in the old wheelchair, and the sadness was obvious for all to see. But he kept on going bless him!
When he died, we'd heard that he was going to be cremated and buried in the churchyard behind us. In fact there's only an ancient brick wall to separate the Turrets from about 60 cremated remains, but they're residents, and never complain... And neither do we of course!
But an extraordinary thing happened when he died.
The local pond is close by, and is usually inhabited by four ducks. We'd noticed, while walking JRT, that the white duck had taken to wandering off, sitting in the road, or around the church and one morning, we found it sitting on our wall, overlooking the spot where David was going to be buried. It stayed there for several days, and many local people noticed this and we commented to everyone that it was the first time it had come anywhere near the wall.
After the funeral, the duck stayed for just a few hours, and then got up and returned to the pond just a few yards awyay, and is still there (well it was this morning anyway...)!
This is absolutely true, and we can still see David's mum walking around with a whippet on a lead, very lost, and needing company. We can always say a big hello, but how can you beat a yarn like that!